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Conflict, Confusion, Choice: A Phenomenological Approach to Acts of Corruption

Authors: Yvonne T. Haigh


Public sector corruption has long-term and damaging effects that are deep and broad. Addressing corruption relies on understanding the drivers that precipitate acts of corruption and developing educational programs that target areas of vulnerability. This paper provides an innovative approach to explore the nature of corruption by drawing on the perceptions and ideas of a group of public servants who have been part of a corruption investigation. The paper examines these reflections through the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu and Alfred Schutz to point to some of the steps that can lead to corrupt activity. The paper demonstrates that phenomenological inquiry is useful in the exploration of corruption and, as a theoretical framework, it highlights that corruption emerges through a combination of conflict, doubt and uncertainty. The paper calls for anti-corruption education programs to be attentive to way in which these conditions can influence the steps into corruption.

Keywords: Corruption, Conflict, phenomenology, Choice

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